The monsoon is officially here. With India to see a normal rainfall during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a unique question has started propping up. Can rain wash away the coronavirus? Can rainfall come to our rescue and wash away the coronavirus from the surfaces around it?
While no substantive research has been done on this topic as of now, there are several views on the internet talking about this. Here’s what we know till now.
What Current Studies Say On The Relation Between Rain And Coronavirus
Several studies seem to explore the hypothesis and understand the relation between rain and viruses, and here’s what the majority of them say.
A 2017 study published in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal articulates how bacteria and viruses travel in the atmosphere. The study concludes that rainfall is much more effective in depositing bacteria out of the atmosphere than viruses.
Another study from MIT says that rainfall may wash away the coronavirus. The paper aimed at analysing the patterns in the weather of the regions which were infected with the virus. From this, they concluded that 90 per cent of the transmissions until March 22 occurred in regions with a temperature between 3 and 17 Celsius and less absolute humidity between 4 to 9 grams of water vapour per cubic meter of air
The paper said “absolute humidity might play a role in determining the spread of coronavirus, although the mechanistic understanding of the association between the spread of the virus and absolute humidity is unknown and is being investigated,”
What Experts Say On The Matter
Even experts are divided on the matter, With research in infancy, no concrete statements have come out on whether rain washes away coronavirus.
“Rain dilutes the virus and can also physically wash it off a surface just like “dirt can wash away,” says Jared Baeten, professor of global health, medicine and epidemiology at the University of Washington.
Scientists Jared Evans and Madeleine Carlisle expended on the phenomenon “Scientists don’t yet know how much of the virus you have to be exposed to to be infected .So it’s unclear whether the already limited impact rain would have on viruses living on the surface of, say, the bannister of your front steps, would make a difference in whether or not the bannister is safe to touch.”
Dr Jennifer Horney, founder of the University of Delaware’s Epidemiology Department agreed that she doesn’t think that rain would help in eradicating the coronavirus. On being asked if rain could clean outside surfaces or remove airborne particles of the virus, she answered that she did not believe there would be any impact from the rain on slowing the spread of the virus.
So Can Rain Save Us From The Coronavirus?
If you’re looking for a quick answer, here’s one. Rain probably doesn’t wash away the virus totally, but may dilute the virus particles, reducing the efficacy of its transmission.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s see what the Internet has to say on whether rain can save us from the coronavirus.
Many experts don’t believe that rain has the potential to deactivate the virus. They believe that the combination of soap and water while washing your hands has a much better chance to do that. This is because soap is the main element responsible for cleansing your hands of coronavirus, as Vox explains here.
Therefore, the answer to the question that whether rain can wash away the coronavirus falls in a bit of a grey area. While it probably helps in the dilution and cleansing of surfaces, it may not be effective in completely destroying the virus.